Devin Price held the bill from Republic Services in his right hand and sighed.
“I received a bill last week for full service. It just doesn’t make sense,” said the Chula Vista man. “If they’re going to bill me full price, then I should receive full service.”
Price didn’t receive full service during the month-long strike at Republic Services. Neither did thousands of other Chula Vista and San Diego County customers.
“I was upset because my trash was overflowing and it’s starting to build up,” said Price. “I’d already prepaid for that service. Republic bills you in advance and they weren’t providing the service.”
The bill in Price’s hand demanded $47.58 for the next collection period. He said he wasn’t in the mood to call the sanitation company and negotiate a refund after hearing many customers were only granted a $5 credit.
“I was expecting a lot more,” said Arnold Gonzales. “I was a little upset because when I called them, they said they would give me a $5 credit and that was it and then I got the bill later on and there’s no credit.”
NBC 7 asked Republic Services on three occasions specifically how many customers have requested refunds and how many received one. Each time the questions were answered with the same statement: “As we’ve previously announced, customers with questions about their service or invoices are asked to follow the standard customer service process and call (619) 421-9400. We recognize that some customers may have received a different service experience than others, so we will handle individual situations on a case-by-case basis.”
“I was very surprised and disappointed in Republic,” responded Price.
Last week, Chula Vista City Manager Maria Kachadoorian sent a letter to the sanitation company demanding refunds for its customers and the city, which was forced to conduct its own trash cleanup during the strike. The same letter demanded a meeting between city officials and Republic Services at 4 p.m Monday. That meeting didn’t happen. A Chula Vista spokesperson said the two sides are working on scheduling a meeting.
“I’m hoping they’re fighting for us,” said Gonzales.
“Talk is talk. So, I look forward to the City following through,” said Price. “I don’t think it’s a negotiable item. Either provide the service or you don’t.”